Money + Marriage = Honeymoon

I’ve possibly referenced my, and Girl Ninja’s, honeymoon destination in previous articles, but have never officially announced it. So today I make that announcement. We’re going to Aruba baby!!! I listed all my options in this post, but it really ended up coming down to Costa Rica and Aruba.

After some number crunching, deal hunting, and deciding what was important to us, we went with Aruba. I wish I could show you pictures of where we are staying because it’s off the hook!!! But I’m too scared one of you will show up at my hotel and try to murder girl ninja so you can take me as your husband/slave/lover. I like Girl Ninja too much to put her in such a situation where one of you could kill her.

Anywho, all said and done we will be honeymooning in Aruba for 8 days followed by another 4 days in Seattle. It’s going to be an epic time. Epic in terms of fun. Epic in terms of starting a marriage. And definitely epic in terms of finances.

For the airfare, hotel, airport shuttle, tours/activities, tax, etc we will be dropping $3,500. We will still have food costs and tips to account for. All said and done we should be looking at a $4,200 honeymoon extravaganza. Honestly, I can’t think of a better and more exciting way to spend that money.

We are a little over three months out from the big day and I’ve recently kicked Operation Sexy Body in to full gear. You know I’m not about to drop $4K on a vacation only to hate every honeymoon picture of myself. Girl Ninja is super duper fine, so I gotta be on my A-game if I want to keep her interested in me.

I think I’m going to print this picture of David Beckham and put it on my refrigerator for extra motivation to get ripped. Why Beckham you ask? Although I’m 100% in love with women, I’m not gonna lie, I may or may not have a tiny man crush on him

Now that I’ve updated you all a little bit on my honeymoon plans and my sexy body plans I’d be curious to hear…

1) If you had an unlimited budget where would you go on a honeymoon

2) Who is your celebrity same-sex crush

p.s. Did I mention I like women… a lot 🙂

Girls are the cleverest creatures around

I’m at the point in my life where I’m starting to learn a lot of things about women. Many of my friends are newlyweds, and quite a few are new or expecting parents. If there is one thing I’ve learned about women it’s this… they are manipulative clever.

It’s possible I was completely naive to the ways of the world, but I honestly had no clue women were so sly. They can take just about any life experience and scheme a way to get gifts out of it.

Take for example a wedding. Pretty big deal right? After all, it is the day most women have dreamed about since their child hood. I’m totally in support of letting the bride have the wedding of her dreams. But it wasn’t until recently that I learned women have found a way to milk their pending marriage for all it’s worth. One bridal shower isn’t enough, they often have two (personal and registry), and sometimes three or more, showers. Seems like a pretty clever way to get gifts if you ask me. Oh and don’t forget the groom is typically expected to provide another gift (typically jewelery) on the day of the wedding. Huh, isn’t that convenient?

You’d think a few bridal showers, the wedding, a gift from future hubby, and a honeymoon would be enough to hold the bride-to-be over right? Not quite. Do you know what a trousseau is? Yeah, I didn’t either. It’s the possessions, such as clothing and linens, that a bride assembles for her marriage, but more specifically the honeymoon. That’s right boys. This trousseau thingy is really an excuse for the girl to go buy ANOTHER bathing suit, ANOTHER dress, ANOTHER purse, ANOTHER blah blah blah, that she doesn’t really need (and will probably never use again).

Now that we’ve knocked weddings out of the way, let’s move on to babies. Have you ever heard of a newborn referred to as “the perfect gift”? I have. Sadly, women don’t really mean it. When they say “I’m so glad I’m pregnant”, what they really mean is “I’m so glad I’m pregnant…. cause now I can buy new clothes and have more showers.”

That’s right, women get pregnant just so they can go shopping!!! Even before future mom starts to show, she stops by the store to pick up a few new pairs of Hudson jeans, because “She felt fat in her other jeans”. Umm excuse me, you’ve been pregnant for 4 weeks, I think you’ve actually lost weight from all the vomiting you’ve been doing in the morning (lol for morning sickness). You don’t need no stinkin’ jeans.

Just like the wedding, the mom-to-be will usually have at least one baby shower thrown for her, so she can get all sorts of crappy clothes she wont actually want to put her child in. Like this outfit….

But here comes the real kicker. Did you know there is such a thing as a babymoon? The babymoon is when the woman demands asks her husband to take her on a vacation so they can have “one last romantic getaway” before kids enter the picture. Excuse me woman, I paid a lot of money for this here house and bedroom set, and now you are telling me we have to travel to Hawaii just so we can be “romantic”… I’m on to your clever tricks! But okay, Hawaii it is. You win this round.

I don’t know how you do it ladies, but I have to give credit where credit is due… you are one sly creature. Do guys have any equivalent parties/showers? I’ve heard of a tool shower (grooms version of bridal shower) and of diaper showers (husbands version of baby shower), but I’m pretty sure those are pretty rare occurrences. What other aspects of a woman’s cleverness (is that the right word?) am I leaving out? I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a million more reasons they “deserve” gifts and parties.

p.s. I want it to be clear these are not things Girl Ninja has had, requested, or even mentioned. The following are just a few things I’ve noticed in various relationships.

p.p.s. I also want to note this article is written tongue in cheek. I know I’ve exaggerated the expectations of many future brides/moms. Don’t get mad, get even 🙂

Who pays $4,000 for a honeymoon!?

As Girl Ninja and I approach our wedding day, we have began the honeymoon planning phase. I have alluded to the honeymoon cost ($4K) in a few posts and have received my fair share of criticism. Especially after this article got picked up by the Consumerist. After reading some of the “not-so-nice” comments I can’t help but think this is what some people are saying….

Pam: Ninja must be off his rocker. Who does he think he is, spending $4,000 on a honeymoon?

Deb: I know. It’s like he thinks he’s one of those millionaires or something. Seems pretty stupid to me.

Pam: Yeah. I totally agree. I can’t believe he thinks he’s qualified to have a personal finance blog when he clearly lives a life of luxury.

Deb: I know right. He’s totally hypocritical. Plus, he probably smells weird.

Am I planning on spending $4,000 on a honeymoon? Yes. Do I care if some think that is too much money for a vacation? No. Sorry, but I don’t. Girl Ninja and I are looking to head somewhere in the Caribbean, possibly Aruba or Puerto Rico. I have made a spreadsheet with some of our favorite places, and the cost of each trip….

As you can see, the estimates run from $3,500-$4,200 for a seven day vacation. Now that you know how much we are looking at spending and where we are planning on going, it’s time to roll my sleeves up and put the boxing gloves on.

Here’s why I’m okay “blowing” 20% of my savings on a “silly” vacation…

1) Girl Ninja and I both have a relatively limited exposure to the world. Mexico, Canada, and the Marshal Islands are the only places I’ve been. GN’s experiences are pretty similar. We figure our honeymoon is the perfect excuse to gain some insight in to a different culture. Sure we could probably spend $2,500 and a cash advance on a week long vacation in Hawaii, but we aren’t just taking a honeymoon to sit on a beach all day and do nothing. We want to interact with the locals, go on some tours, and take advantage of all that a foreign country has to offer.

2) I have the money to do it. I don’t think anyone who reads my blog regularly, would say I have a problem saving money. In fact I’ve increased my net worth by over $30,000 in the last year. I save diligently, so that I can afford to do fun things when the opportunity arises. Yes, my savings account will take an 18% hit, but at my current savings rate, I will be able to recoup the loss in a couple of months. I bet if I said I had a $10,000 emergency fund and a $10,000 vacation/fun fund, instead of $20K in savings, people wouldn’t give me any grief. Sometimes people, including myself, forget it’s okay to spend money. I think I’m due for a little treat.

3) This honeymoon is going to be a big deal for our relationship. Our honeymoon will be a time of many firsts. I’ve shared reasons why GN and I do not live together, but I should also note, we have never even stayed the night in the same room. Thus, we have never vacationed together, not even a weekend get-away. The honeymoon would be the first time Girl Ninja and I sleep in the same bed together, the first time we wake up next to each other, the first time I have to remember to put the toilet seat down after going potty. It will be our first taste of the married life, and we want it to be AMAZING. If you haven’t caught on by now, let me spell it out for you…

Even though we have been together for 3.5 years, we made a choice early in our relationship to NOT participate in any “adult” activities until we got hitched. (wow that felt awkward to type)

I know some of my critics have my best interest at heart, and don’t want to watch me throw away a good chunk of change on a one week trip, but I hope you see that this is much more than “a vacation”. It’s going to be a time of many firsts and I’m totally fine splurging for a nicer vacation to ensure the week is awesome.

Okay, now that I feel totally awkward for sharing point 3, let’s open the floor for discussion.

1) Where do you think I should go on my honeymoon?

2) Where did you go (or want to go) on your honeymoon?

3) Do you think I’m spending too much on “a vacation”?

4) What’s the coolest thing about the honeymoon experience?

Do I have to change the name of my blog?

What situation would you rather be in…

Situation Uno: You could have $20,000 in savings, but also have $15,000 in mid-interest debt (7%).

Situation Dos: You could have $5,000 in savings, but zero debt.

I’m currently sticking with situation uno. I have $22K in the bank and a little over $15K in debt. I could pay off my student loan tomorrow, be truly debt free, and still have a small emergency fund. I chose not to. Dave Ramsey would be pissed! My blog’s title is Punch Debt In The Face, but by choosing to remain in debt, perhaps I should change the name to Punch Debt In The Face When You Feel Like It. It doesn’t quite have the same ring, does it?

I would be all about transitioning to situation dos if not for one small detail. I’m getting married. There are a lot of unknowns at this point in my life. I know I will be paying for a honeymoon (probably around $4K) and will face other wedding related costs over the next few months. Not having to pay for the actual wedding day has been a huge blessing, but I will still have some financial obligations.

I have no clue what to expect for monthly expenses as Girl Ninja and I move in together. I’ve never lived with a girl before, but word on the street has it those things can be expensive. It’s also unclear what Girl Ninja’s income will be. She is a substitute teacher in California, and we all know the California government can’t manage money.

Maintaining a rather large savings account keeps me from stressing out about the “unknowns” of marriage. Personally, if I paid off my student loan, and only had a few grand in the bank, I would be super anxious about our stability. So for the time being, I plan to continue operating in situation uno until, at least, the end of the year. After a few moths of the married life, and once I have a better handle on our future, I will strongly consider paying off my loan.

So what would you do? Does the security of having a large amount of cash in the bank keep you from stressing about your debt? Or does debt overwhelm you, and you would get rid of it in an instant. I have a feeling there will be a pretty even split.